on a table in a doctor's office, I adjust myself, hearing the loud rustle of
medical paper and the cool, itchy fabric of a hospital gown. A gossip magazine
is curled in my mother's hands an inch from her face, glasses on her head. When
the doctor returns, he sits down in a stool and says only seven words. He then
throws up an X-ray film of what appears to be an imposter. I almost say
something but then think better of it, and instead force myself to look at what
is on the wall. I then sit and stare at those black and white electromagnetic
radiations, and realize that this was what I looked like. To my friends, my
classmates, strangers, and the doctor who was in the room at that exact moment.
After he leaves, I get dressed, stealing another glance at what is now my wall
of shame, and I can't take it. I was diagnosed with scoliosis around five
months ago, but the memory of my first experience will live on in my mind
forever. After my initial diagnosis, I remembered your book, Deenie, which
I read before being diagnosed, in which the main character goes through her
experiences with the disease. I remembered this because Deenie is around my
age, the same gender and we shared a connection of scoliosis. This book helped
me not only to understand more about my condition, but also about how other
people would react and, more importantly, how I myself would feel.
One passage in your book that helped
me greatly was when Deenie first learns about her condition. She runs up to her
room and inspects herself in the mirror. For the most part she doesn't see
anything wrong, from the front. But then she turns around, and her whole world
comes crashing down. I have also had this epiphany of truly looking at myself
for the first time. One morning, I traveled into my bathroom like any ordinary
day and started my morning routine. As I turned around though, I saw it. The
curvature that everyone I knew had spoken about. I had seen it in the X-rays
before but for the first time I honestly saw myself.
also speaks a lot in the book about peer reaction to her condition. She talks
especially about how everyone inquires about her brace on the first day she
wears it. While she knows they're genuinely curious, she grows tired of it and
wishes the questions would stop. This too I have experienced in one of my dance
classes. I have taken dance for many years now, and for the most part I enjoy
them. That is until one day when I was in a stretching class. In this
particular class we have to wear leotards, and little else so that our teachers,
ourselves, and in this case, other classmates, can see what our body is doing.
Two girls who were standing behind me started whispering, pointing, and jeering
at my body. After this had gone on for a while, one of them came up to me and
asked about it. I made some general comment to change the subject, but they
kept pestering me. Deenie wishes that people would just mind their own
business, and sometimes I feel the same way.
When Deenie first sees the brace, she
wants to scream, "Forget it...I'm never going to wear that thing."
While I won't be wearing a brace for my treatment, I can still sympathize with
her. The first time I heard the doctors speak to me about correction surgery, I
had the same reaction of complete hatred and rejection. Later, extremely kind
doctors explained to me that I it would be alright, the corrections would help,
and there would be nothing to worry about. Once again I thought of your book,
and how at the end Deenie is at peace with her condition, and is even
thinking about a future that doesn't include scoliosis. While I have not been
able to get to this point of complete acceptance, I feel I will get there soon.
initial experience with scoliosis is one that is unforgettable and not one that
I would like to relive. Yet, I wouldn't exchange the experiences I've had for
anything, because they have made me grow as a person. The biggest lesson I have
learned is that I can't do anything to change that I have scoliosis, but what I
can do is accept that I have it and make the best of a difficult situation. I
feel I will now be able to do this because of your book.
a friend and scoliosis patient,